Politics, Asia - Pacific

Amid sanctions row, US' Blinken, Bangladeshi foreign minister hold phone call

US last week announced sanctions on Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion over alleged human rights abuse

SM Najmus Sakib  | 16.12.2021 - Update : 16.12.2021
Amid sanctions row, US' Blinken, Bangladeshi foreign minister hold phone call

DHAKA, Bangladesh

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen amid growing anger over new US sanctions.

Momen told reporters that during the 30-minute phone call late Wednesday, he called on the US to speak with the Bangladeshi leadership before making any decisions.

Momen said he raised the issue of US sanctions against Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police, saying: “Bangladesh takes action against security officials if there any allegations of human rights violations.”

The US Treasury last Friday imposed human rights abuse-related sanctions on Bangladesh Police Inspector General Benazir Ahmed and six other current and former officials of the battalion, including its director general, Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun.

After the sanctions were announced, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller was summoned by Momen to convey Dhaka’s discontent over the sanctions, which were imposed without any prior consultation with Bangladesh, said a Foreign Ministry statement. ​​​​​​​

In the phone call, they also talked about advancing cooperation between the two countries to mark the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, Momen added.

During the call, Blinken reaffirmed the US’ longstanding partnership with Bangladesh on development, economic growth, and security, said the US side.

“The two leaders discussed the importance of human rights and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and address shared global challenges,” according to a State Department press release. 

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